Over the years in Transformers, we see characters take on a lot of different forms, pun not intended. We’ve seen a Smokescreen that was a Decepticon jet. We’ve seen Inferno as a crazy pyromaniac ant. We’ve seen Prowl as a ninja motorcycle. But once in awhile one comes along that just feels so… off, it becomes hard to accept, and the most recent example is Prime Wheeljack. While yes, Wheeljack was a traitor in Armada, he at least carried a different design that made him stand apart. But this time, we got a Wheeljack that was a fantastic update to the original… but with the personality and schtick of Drift. What the heck? Still, as time went on I came to accept it, and I’m glad I did… because he’s a damn nice toy.
He’s certainly not the Lancia Stratos of old, but damn he’s got style (Editor’s note: the design is actually based on the Lancia Fenomenon concept car). He’s one of those few cars that manages to get that futuristic concept car look without looking too ridiculous. Next to Cliffjumper, I’d have to say this is my favorite car mode in the line thus far. Props to the designers for this one; I don’t get excited by car-formers too often based on vehicle mode alone.
Wheeljack’s transformation is simple, yet satisfying. He’s one of the few Transformers I own that I could probably spend all day transforming back and forth. The only part that bugs me are the lower legs, which I keep forgetting how to do properly…
Wheeljack’s robot mode is, well, the original Wheeljack in the Prime style! I have to admit, I wish they took a few more liberties with the design, but hey, it’s Wheeljack. The long arms look is a bit odd and ape-like, but that seems to be a recurring theme with the Prime designs, so I’ll accept it.
One big fear I had with this toy was his articulation. Early accounts said that he lacked an elbow swivel, but thankfully that’s not the case with the toy, assuming you transform him properly. If you don’t flip his shoulders down, you can actually get a great ball joint/swivel combination that works wonderfully with his arm design and weapons. In this instance, I actually prefer it over the traditional elbow swivel.
Of course, the elephant in the room regarding this new version of ‘Jack is the swords. Yeah, he’s not a mechanic anymore, but whatever. A cool toy is a cool toy, and while the swords aren’t half as cool as the one that came with Generations Drift, they’re still pretty good. They’re very gritty in their design, which suits the ex-Wrecker perfectly.
But the best part of the swords is how they work in vehicle mode. They store away nicely without causing any drag, but that’s not it. You can give him an “attack mode” which makes him STABCAR WHEELJACK! Yeah, this is pretty much the toy’s best feature. The swords can also peg into a pair of mechtech ports on the sides of the car’s rear.
Of the four Prime toys I have so far, Wheeljack is definitely my favorite. He’s every bit as good as I’d hoped he would be, and recommend him to just about everybody. You want ‘im? Come to FPNYC and rectify that!